There’s a reason that many of us at AC didn’t want to face Detroit in the playoffs. The Red Wings have a well established history of showing up in the playoffs and giving teams all they can handle. For the Ducks, it’s a wasted opportunity before what might be a short rebuild.
To Pavel Datsyuk:
With a kid and a love of two other professional sports, I don’t watch a lot of hockey outside of the Ducks. I try to, but it’s hard when the Padres are playing or Trevor is begging for an episode of Jake and the Neverland Pirates. This is all to say, I’ve always heard what a great player you were, but had never really observed it first-hand outside of the occasional highlights or comments from other hockey folks.
But watching you for seven straight games, I was absolutely blown away. Every time I looked it, it seemed like the puck was on your stick, or that you were quickly finding a way to get it there. Your shot against Jonas Hiller in Game Four will go down as one of the sickest snipes I’ve ever seen. And you were dangerous no matter where you were on the ice. Players like Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Kane, and Jonathan Toews might get the lion’s share of the spotlight, but you're probably the best all-around player in the league right now. I don’t even know the Ducks kept you off the scoreboard in three games of this series.
That whole planting-your-ass-in-the-crease thing is pretty effective, especially since there are three of you that can do it with regularity. While Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg might have piled up the points, you three are probably the single greatest reason the Red Wings won this series. The Ducks couldn't find an answer for you (note: moving you would have helped) and you were relentless in both your willingness to stand your ground and your retrieval of pucks. I wish the Ducks had even one player who would have been willing to consistently do what each of you did in this series.
To Mike Babcock:
I don’t want to say you out-coached Boudreau, because I think it’s very easy to make those kinds of claims after the fact. I will say that you clearly knew which buttons to push at which time, and you handled the loss of Danny DeKeyser and Abdelkader as if nothing had even happened. You had the courage to insert Carlo Colaiacovo mid-way through the series and you stuck with Zetterberg, despite his apparent struggles in the first four games. You also keyed in on the Ducks’ inability to clear the front of their net and you got your boys up for every game. I think there were maybe one or two periods in the entire series where Anaheim clearly outplayed Detroit. But there were probably five or six where the opposite was true. I have a feeling you’re going to give Joel Quenneville and the Blackhawks a rougher time than they’re anticipating.